|Some people consider "Abbey Road" to be the best Beatles album, and who can blame them?|
The "Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End" medley that ends the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album was recorded on multiple days in July and August 1969. The main recording session for "Golden Slumbers" and "Carry that Weight" was on 2 July but omitted John Lennon, who was in the hospital following a car accident in Scotland. Lennon did participate in other sessions. "The End," which really is inextricably linked to the preceding songs, was recorded on 23 July 1969 and on several other days until 18 August.
Many people thought that the Beatles might break up after the troubled "Let it Be" sessions early in 1969. However, for one reason or another, the group decided to give it one more shot during the summer. While nobody ever really came right out and said it, there seems to have been a general feeling that just as the '60s were ending, so was the Beatles as a group. Side 2 of Abbey Road reflects this, and the "Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End" medley puts as solid a period on the end of a sentence as can be done with music.
"Golden Slumbers" is based on the poem "Cradle Song," a traditional lullaby by Thomas Dekker published in 1603 comedy "Patient Grissel." Paul wrote his own music to accompany lyrics adapted from the poem. While Paul McCartney treats "Hey Jude" as the ultimate Beatles song, "Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End" seems to generate the most emotional reaction in audiences.
|Rare cover of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight" by Trash issued in Australia by Apple Records.|
"Carry That Weight" was recorded with "Golden Slumbers" and treating them as different songs was a somewhat arbitrary choice except for the abrupt musical change that marks the transition between them. Paul claims "Carry That Weight" is about the oppressive atmosphere at Apple Records due to business issues, and Lennon agreed that the song is "singing about all of us."
"The End" was indeed the final song recorded by all four Beatles. While they did get together on each other's solo projects, none featured all four members of the group. "The End" is a somewhat rare McCartney song that really impressed Lennon, who noted:
That's Paul again ... He had a line in it, 'And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give,' which is a very cosmic, philosophical line. Which again proves that if he wants to, he can think.High praise indeed from a man who had taken to calling many of Paul's compositions "Granny music."
A little-known fact is that Paul, as he often did, arrived early in the studio on the day that the Beatles recorded "Golden Slumbers" and "Carry That Weight" and did a little work on his own (That is how his demo of "Come and Get It" came about, too, on 24 July 1969). He set to work and recorded his own little ditty called "Her Majesty." Upon reviewing it later in the same session, Paul decided that "Her Majesty" was good enough to make the album - but only as a hidden track at the end. So, that is how "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" turned out not to be the final song on the "Abbey Road" album.
|A release of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight" in the Philippines.|
"The End" is unique for any number of reasons, but the most striking reason is that all four members of the group have equal solos - even Ringo, who was not a big fan of drum solos. Additionally, as Lennon noted, "The End" features the most appropriate closing line possible in:
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.The line closes a chapter largely opened by the Beatles themselves, the Summer of Love, which came crashing down as the uncertain '70s approached.
|The Beatles and "Her Majesty."|